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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Interesting ... below are select results of the penultimate stage and final ITT in the 2007 TdF, a 55-km ITT over flat terrain. The penultimate stage and final ITT in the 2008 TdF is 53 km over largely flat terrain, again favoring a power rider over a climber.

Leaving the Alps and heading into the final ITT this Saturday, If the 2007 ITT is indicative of what to expect Saturday, you can group Sastre and CVV as needing at least 2 to 3 minutes time over Evans, and Schleck needing at least 3, probably 4 minutes over Evans -- to have a crack at the final yellow jersey. The wild card here is Menchov, who didn't have a 2007 final ITT result because Rabobank got booted from the TdF (Rasmussen). FWIW, Menchov finished 21st in the first ITT in the 2007 TdF (Albi-Albi) at 3:30 behind a doped-to-the-gills Vino. Menchov was also 'relegated' to super-domestique for Rasmussen after Rasmussen's success in the Alps last year, so Menchov's less-than-stellar Albi result isn't too helpful.

Barring Evans and Menchov imploding or Schleck, Sastre, CVV or Kohl suddenly riding like Ricco up the Alps, it should be a showdown between Evans and Menchov on Saturday. Of course, anything can happen in the Alps and at the final ITT . . .

1 Levi Leipheimer (USA) Discovery Channel Pro Cycling Team 1.02.44
2 Cadel Evans (Aus) Predictor - Lotto 0.51
13 Kim Kirchen (Lux) T-Mobile Team 3.00
16 Carlos Sastre Candil (Spa) Team CSC 3.24
17 Alejandro Valverde Belmonte (Spa) Caisse d'Epargne 3.37
19 Christian Vande Velde (USA) Team CSC 3.58
29 Bernhard Kohl (Aut) Gerolsteiner 4.38
36 Frank Schleck (Lux) Team CSC 5.18
 

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6 guys within a minute of each other with a week left, I cannot remember a tour like this.

Good to see guys suffering again, watching riders climb at 30kmph with a smile is no fun to watch.
 

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Menchov is looking better and better to me. He has the Vuelta experience in his favor. His fall today was a bit of bad luck as he was poised to put the hurt on the group.

Vande Velde got caught watching the wrong guy again today.
 

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bigpinkt said:
6 guys within a minute of each other with a week left, I cannot remember a tour like this.

Good to see guys suffering again, watching riders climb at 30kmph with a smile is no fun to watch.

Yea, I agree. This is setup for an exciting week of racing. Evans looked a little vulnerable today, but I would still consider him the favorite to end up in yellow in Paris. However, I think Menchov is the one to lookout for in the coming days. It looks like he might be able to put in some time into Evans in the mountains and his TT ability is very good. Should be a dramatic final week.
 

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If CVV wants to lock up a podium spot, he needs to ride more aggressively in the final kms up the mountains. Kohl, Schleck and Sastre all want to be on the podium -- if not yellow in Paris -- and all three of them will ride aggressively in the Alps and take time out of Evans. As we see from the ITT results last year, CVV is not a materially better ITTist over Sastre or Kohl.
 

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The OP's assessment is pretty much right on. It is close right now on the top 6, but realistically if those gaps were present for the final TT, Evans and Menchov are going to be the favorites, with VdV rounding it out.

I wonder if any of the GC guys will try to take time on Tuesday's stage. The final climb is HC...too bad it doesn't finish up there. But still, if you can go over the top with a minute or two, a good descender will be able to at least hold it if not increase their lead.
 

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dagger said:
. His fall today was a bit of bad luck as he was poised to put the hurt on the group.
I thought he was done when that happened. Heck of an effort to get back to the group and attack again. The adrenaline of the crash probably helped fuel the fire, but he looked pretty good today.
 

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dagger said:
His fall today was a bit of bad luck as he was poised to put the hurt on the group.
3 bad crashes today where it just looked like they were pedaling on glass. do they do something with the road services in italy? it was very odd but yes he looks strong. I think when it kicks up a notch, evans will be dropped.
 

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Iwannapodiumgirl said:
i think it's between menchov and evans.
I think you are right. While I see Schleck, Sastre and Kohl possibly putting time into Evans on Tuesday and Wednesday, I don't think any of them will get enough - unless Evans has a bad day, which given these stages (especially Wednesday - that one is going to hurt), could certainly happen.

Great tour, really exciting. Maybe it is a bit cleaner, no one seems unbeatable.
 

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Iwannapodiumgirl said:
i think it's between menchov and evans.

menchov had 1 minute over evans in the vuelta time trial of similar distance.

should be an interesting next few days, but i do hope evans can limit his loses and regain yellow in the ITT.
At this point in time the TTers are looking good. But we still have two more alpine stages to go and this is where the fatal blow has to occur. The mountain goats (Satsre, Schleck, Kohl) have to put minutes between them and the others. Sastre would need at least 2 minutes, Schleck at least 3 and Kohl somewhere in between to say that they have a realistic chance at yellow. My calculations are based on the stage 4 29.9km TT if the average speed were to stay the same over a 53km distance.
I also believe that Menchov is climbing the best between the three TTers and the mountain goats should make it their priority to break him. I just don't see that CVV and Evans have what it takes to stay with them when the attacks start coming.
 

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His results don't show it because he's always ridden for someone else, but VdV is a very good time trialist and shouldn't have any trouble taking time out of everyone but Menchov, Evans & the other tt specialists when the tt rolls around. Also, he's been climbing great so it's hard to see him losing any significant time in the next two days either. Based off of his interviews the last week or so it sounds like he's finally realized how good of a rider he actually is and the confidence is really showing.
 

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If CSC can decide if Schleck or Sastre is their best GC hope, a concerted effort on AdH could take another 1:30 or so out of Evans/Menchov, esp with S-D out.

CSC has produced some pretty good TTers and I'll bet Franky has the TT of his life if he's in yellow. Sastre is a proud man and that might complicate things, though, if he's not willing to be a super-domestique for FS.

I disagree that CVV needs to attack. I'm not sure he's strong enough vs. the true climbers. At this point, he's ridden within himself, made a few tactical errors, but he's got a reasonable chance of the podium. The exception would be in the final 2k if he's feeling frisky, as he did the other day.
 

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peter1 said:
...
CSC has produced some pretty good TTers and I'll bet Franky has the TT of his life if he's in yellow. Sastre is a proud man and that might complicate things, though, if he's not willing to be a super-domestique for FS.
...
For Frank Schleck an awesome TT would be 1min30sec down on either Menchov, Evans or CVV.But I think both he and Riis know that 3mins is what he needs.
As far as Sastre goes, I don't think that Riis or the rest of the team will tolerate any dissenters. And I wouldn't be worried about Carlos. He's shown his work ethic in the past when he was Basso's top lieutenant.
At this point in the race I still believe that CSC's two pronged attack is the best strategy. In the following two stages 1 or 2 minute gains are still a good possibility for them.
 
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